Do I need a glass fronted patio heater?
Many people are confused as to whether or not they need an electric patio heater with a glass front.
When outdoor electric halogen patio heaters were first conceived, the only way of making them waterproof and protect the lamp unit was by placing glass in front of it, however, the glass itself created significant problems. Glass was known to cut out a large proportion of infrared. These problems have been partially solved but even the best glass still blocks about 20% of the infrared heat emitted from even the best patio heaters
A cheaper outdoor infrared heater might emit as little as 50% of the heat being generated. This shortens the life of the lamp unit and often leads to shattered glass and blown lamps as the heat cannot disperse properly.
Recent changes in the technology of the infrared lamp unit itself have meant that the glass is not necessarily needed to waterproof the heater and in fact, has significant disadvantages. Unless used in a particularly dirty type of factory environment where protect against dust and dirt ingress is needed, most manufacturers are moving away from them.
It is now only older style of electric patio heaters that use glass fronts and generally these are the lower powered 1.3kW lamps that are now gradually being phased out.
Cheap electric patio heaters are nearly always glass fronted.
They never last very long and are ultimately an expensive waste of money. Exceptions can be made for the larger units which can disperse the heat reasonably well.
There is widespread experience of particularly short lamp life with many glass fronted electric heaters. This is often due to them not being properly looked after in their 1st hour of use. Once turned on for 45 minutes or so, a dust build up will occur on the glass front and on the reflector surface behind.
This dust MUST be wiped off to avoid the heater retaining too much heat and blowing the lamp or shattering the glass. This is a one off clean and will not need doing again.